In an embarrassment to former CJI K.G. Balakrishnan, Supreme Court judge H L Gokhale on Tuesday contradicted his claim that he was not aware that it was former Union telecom minister A Raja, who had tried to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case.
In a statement, Justice Gokhale, who was the chief justice of the Madras High Court at that time, said that in his letter to Justice Balakrishnan, the then CJI, he had clearly referred to the name of Raja.
Justice Gokhale's statement totally contradicts Justice Balakrishnan's claim that there was no mention of any Union minister in the report sent by Justice Gokhale, then High Court Chief Justice, on Justice S Reghupathi episode.
"I regret to say that the allegations are absolutely incorrect," Balakrishan had said last week referring to news reports that he had suppressed a letter purportedly written by Justice Reghupathi to him when he was Chief Justice of India.
In a statement on Tuesday, Justice Gokhale said, "The former CJI has stated in his press conference that in my letter I did not mention the name of any Union minister having talked to Justice Reghupathi over phone to influence him.
"With respect to this statement I may point out that Justice Reghupathi's letter was already with him and in the second paragraph thereof justice Reghupathi had specifically mentioned the name of Raja.
"I had no personal knowledge about the incident and observations in my reply wherein are in conformity with the contents of Justice Reghupathi's," Justice Gokhale said.
News reports had alleged that Balakrishan had suppressed that letter which had purportedly alleged that Raja had tried to influence Justice Reghupathi which cast aspersion on him (CJI) that he had committed dereliction of duty.
"When this incident was reported in the media, I sought for a report from the then Chief Justice of Madras High Court Justice Gokhale and he sent me a report wherein nothing was mentioned about any Union minister having made a telephonic talk with Justice Reghupathi to influence him," Balakrishan had said.